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Dayliles belong to the genus Hemerocallis, a Greek word meaning “beautiful for a day”.  AND that they are!

Here is a picture of the small daylily I have in my garden.  I specifically got small ones, so their flowers are at the level of the other blooms that surround them. This one was photographed just as it was beginning to present me with flowers!  If you look carefully, you can see other buds peeking in among the hosta leaves behind it.

Daylilies come in different sizes, both in height and size of bloom, although generally the taller the stem, the larger the flower.  I must say, my smaller (shorter) plant has blooms that are pretty close in size to the larger daylilies I’ve had in the past. You can find them with about 15 inch stems, like mine, to ones towering to four feet!  The flowers themselves can be found from three to eight inches across!!! Colors vary from the common yellow to exotic colors that seem to change year to year. Look for what will fit specifically into YOUR garden.433863_130129193231_PC264705_PEACH_BLEND_

Daylilies should be in EVERY garden!  They are easy to plant; easy to care for; very pretty; and they multiply by careful spreading.  They don’t get out of control, or pop up in places you don’t want them.  They don’t need to be watered much, and seem to bloom FOREVER!

The only thing you should do with them, is to remove the spent flowers.  They are called DAY-lilies for a reason. They will bloom, and the bloom will whither, all in a day or so.  IF you don’t remove that spent bloom, it will fall off all by itself after about a week.  However, the plant looks much better if you don’t have to look at withered blooms, so pick them off when you see them.

If you’re off on a vacation or something, don’t worry about the daylilies, they will continue to make your garden look just wonderful!

It sounds like the plant will be all gone after a day, but these guys have MANY buds on at least one stem per plant.  As they age, the stems multiply and the blooms will come, and come and come.F021AF87-9333-4EF2-8B6D-5EABC0E9127C_1_105_c

The only real care that should be given is to prune off the stems after all the blooms are done.  They will look unsightly, and are not needed by the plant.   Also, these lilies need very little extra attention. However, they will appreciate a dose of compost every spring.  As you layer the rest of your garden with compost, don’t forget the daylilies.

Here is a very extensive link about planting, care, and anything else you might want to know about daylilies from the University of Minnesota Extension Service.  

The planting and care instruction given at this Minnesota web-site can be utilized where-ever daylilies are planted and grown.  Once you’ve had these wonderful plants in your garden, you’ll never garden again without them!

This morning, I went into our gardens to do a little filming, in order to make a video of our own gardens for our “Virtual June In Our Gardens”.  It was an eye-opener.

Most gardeners need to give their gardens a good, objective look!  What I saw was a LOT of plants that were needing to be dead-headed.

The bulbs are done, and most of you are watching the leaves die back…which is the right thing to do, as those leaves give the bulbs nutrients for next years blooms.

BUT, there are many early, spring-blooming plants that have finished their “show”.  Be sure to trim those flowers off.  What they are doing now is developing seeds.  Unless you want the seeds, that is hard work for the plants.  They will put all their energy into making seeds, and the plants will soon look pretty “seedy”-pun intended!  This is probably where that expression came from. When you trim them, make your cut as close to the main part of the plant as you can.  This may be a branch, or even right to the ground, depending on the plant.

Then there are all those tall irises. With the rain, they are either bent over, or “gone by”.  If you carefully bend the spent bloom back toward the stem, it will come out leaving the stem and a newer bloom there ready to look pretty nice! You’ll need to support the stem as you do this, or you will break it.  If the iris is really tall, you may need to stake it.  Remember that for next year.

Have you got a Peony?  They are in the midst of their blooming.  If a bloom is done, trim it back to the next nearest cluster of leaves.  Don’t leave any empty stems.  They look pretty UGLY!  Stand back and look at the plant.  You might need to balance it out a bit.  That’s easy to do, just take those pruners and trim out the leggy branches to a good spot, by a junction of stems, so you avoid those “sticks”.

I must say, I’m getting a bit claustrophobic!  Gardeners all over are finding respite and comfort in their gardens.  They are getting fresh air and staying healthy.  They are not spreading germs, but perhaps becoming a bit of compost instead.

Here in Horizon House, however, we’re stuck in our apartments.  We cannot get into our gardens.  All we can do is laundry and empty garbage!  Thrilling, right?  We are all so READY to get back to greeting each other. AND get into our gardens.  It feels like the rebuild of the West wing, when we were not allowed in our gardens for a year!

What we found was that nature really does know how to take care of itself.  Granted a few annuals became composted in place, and a few plants suffered, but came back as soon as they received a little extra TLC.  So, fear not, your gardens await you, just like you await them!

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I thought I’d look to see if I could find some gardens for you to tour virtually.

The one of the Kew Gardens is delightful.

Or maybe you’d like to learn a bit more about Monet’s Gardens.

And finally, the magnificent “Gardens at Waddesdon Manor“.

I hope you enjoyed them!  It’s not quite as good as digging in your own dirt, but they sure are pretty!

And we’re stuck inside with very little to do.  Those who have homes with gardens are in good shape.  You can go outside and garden to your hearts content.  However, those of us who live at Horizon House, or other Retirement Communities, are confined to staying in our rooms, or sequestered in some way.    IMG_0052

So, I’ve been wondering how to let our gardening spirits gambol about. IMG_7628Here are some ideas for your hours of boredom.  Some of these ideas are really kind of cute. Others, kind of interesting.

 

 

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Well, not quite!IMG_7612

In our gardens, we depend on hoses and watering cans.  Many of us are pretty decrepit (like me!).  It’s sometimes HARD to get water to our thirsty plants. But, at least we HAVE water!  We should be grateful (and are) for this greatest of blessings.

Over the last couple of years, we have also added some water “elements” to our gardens at the suggestion of our Audubon leader (June In Our Gardens).  Many gardeners have added little saucers, and various types of tiny birdbaths. They are effective.img_6058  They hydrate not only the 

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birds, but bees, butterflies and other little creatures who visit our gardens. 

Of course, these receptacles need cleaning as well. The crows come to rinse their gleanings, leaving crumbs and sometimes whole slices of bread!  That’s not terribly attractive,

IMG_8580but there are those among us who dunk our donuts, so who are we to criticize?

At any rate, the water is a welcome part of our gardening, even if it is a drag (pun intended) to get it to the necessary area!

Here, where I live at Horizon House, in downtown Seattle, WA it has been “June In Our Gardens” month.  I am chairman of that “happening”, so, May (preparation month) and June have been incredibly busy for me. Needless to say, I haven’t taken the time to work on my blog AT ALL! Sorry about that!

It has been a very busy journey, but a totally satisfying one.  I have gotten so many comments about the joy the gardens here bring to our residents.  They have loved the lectures, tours and parties that brought them into the gardens. It has helped them enjoy the outdoors and the wonderful colors, smells, creatures and camaraderie they have found there.  Which was of course, the very purpose of having this grand month of total Garden immersion! I wish you could all have joined us!  I’ve included a few pictures from our gardens and also from the trips we have taken.  Be prepared…GARDENS prevail!

Here is the Calendar for the month.  As you can see, every day is occupied! Calendar — Month — 6:1:19 to 6:30:19

We started with a little lesson on how to use our grills, so we could bring our “grillables” out for dinner.  A good place to start!  A very relaxed lesson was gratefully accepted!UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_2683Here are some pictures from Volunteer Park Conservatory…in the Cactus “house”.  Spectacular isn’t it?

We also ventured to the Japanese Gardens. It is so peaceful and pretty there.

There were other things going on every day, as you could see by the calendar, but I think this is enough to give you a flavor of what transpired.

And now onto July!

 

 

A number of years ago, I took over a garden that was root bound.  No one could plant a garden there.  I had not intended to garden again once I left my gardens in New Hampshire.  It was time to admire other people’s gardens.  Or so I thought!

On arrival, I got involved with the Garden Committee here at Horizon House, continuing to the position of Chair. I really enjoyed that.  Then one of the gardeners came to me to indicate she could no longer dig in her garden because it was totally root-bound by the surrounding trees.  After checking that out, we moved her to another garden that was “diggable”.  But, what would we do with the one she  was leaving?

A's Garden

I figured I could deal with that, and volunteered to take it over.  I put in some large containers, which  I planted with succulents.  It worked.  I didn’t have to dig in the garden, and the succulents did not require a ton of care from me, so all was good.

And then, the inevitable happened.  Those encroaching roots began to impact the irrigation system.  We had a few broken pipes, and garden floods. That became expensive and of course, intolerable for Horizon House. The decision was made to dig up the trees.

What happened then was actually pretty nice.  It meant we got 5  or 6 new gardens!  And in the process…mine was dug up, as were all the impacted garden plots.  We got wonderful new soil!  AND I all of a sudden had a REAL garden!  I was IMG_8548both overjoyed and appalled.  So much for my garden-less sojourn. But, I had a garden again.  It was small.  It was manageable. It was mine…

So, the containers stayed at one end of the garden.  I took stones I had salvaged from my friend Judy’s garden.  Judy, an avid gardener, died much too early and I felt this was a way to keep her in my life and honor her.  They now weave (she was a wonderful weaver, as well as gardener) through my little patch.  IMG_8560After I placed those “bones”, I found the perfect (I hope!) perennials to plant around them.  Right now, I’m watering them while they grab hold, looking fresh and healthy. I am hopeful that as time goes on, they will need less care from me, and will bloom and grow forever!

So, there it is…my journey back to the soil.  I KNEW I could never be too far away from a garden.  It is my attachment to my mother who was a fabulous gardener.  It is my connection to Irene, my life long best friend in Connecticut.  (Irene gave me a cute little birdbath with a few hummingbirds flittering around it. You’ll see it in most of the pictures of the garden.) The stones are part and parcel of Judy.  It is also my new connection to the state of Washington, where the seasons are much more forgiving.  It is my umbilical cord to the world where I exist.  I want to leave this world a better place than when I entered it.  Between my family and my gardens, I hope I’ve done that!IMG_8613

 

I’ve been remiss.  Sorry about that!  Sometimes life interferes with life.  That’s a silly statement, but occasionally so very true!

I’ve had a few thoughts about this blog entry, but then have not carried through on any of them.  One of the things standing in the way of my getting a new entry done is that my husband has been a bit “under the weather” lately.  Then we had company from the East Coast.  It was family, so we revelled in their presence!IMG_8521

One of my husbands complaints is that his mouth is so dry.  I tried all the usual techniques for getting some moisture into the air in our apartment.  Boiled some water; didn’t use the fan to get rid of the moisture in the bathroom after a shower; a good one is to open the dishwasher as it finishes to allow all that hot moist steam to flood the kitchen; be sure the window was open (at least a little bit) at night to pull in some moisture from our damp Seattle atmosphere; I think perhaps drying socks on the shower rack would also add some humidity without taking up a huge amount of space!

But, there HAVE to be other techniques that wouldn’t require the purchase of a humidifier, which I would like to avoid. (Of course, I also set a big glass of cold water in front of him, and suggest he drink that as an instant cure!)

A year or so ago I got a humidity gauge as a gift from one of my sons.  It has been a good thing to keep an eye on.  And yes, in the mornings this apartment IS dry. So what else to do?IMG_8519

I’m sure you all know where I’m going with this…PLANTS!  They are GREAT humidifiers! They “transpire”.  What that means is that they take water from the soil, into their roots, send it up to the leaves, and out it goes into the atmosphere again. Here’s one article about that. Increasing Humidity in Buildings

Let’s look at a few other interesting articles about humidifying our indoor environment..

Here are a few good idea’s from, of all places, Angie’s List!

It is also said that stove top cooking is a good idea!IMG_8522

And of course, more about the use of PLANTS!

 

Yes!  They do  join us at our meal-times!

Here at Horizon House our Garden Committee was granted money to purchase Hummingbird Feeders to place outside the Main Dining Room windows for our enjoyment all winter long.  Anna’s Hummingbirds stay with us all winter…the annual flowers in our planters do not.  So, instead of the flowers, during the winter, we now can  enjoy the Hummers!!!

We have two feeders hanging.  One on the west side of the dining room (mine), and one on the north side (Carol O.’s).  They were placed carefully.  We thought of placing them where most diners could actually SEE the feeders.  The other reason was that the feeders are out of sight of each other.  As many of us know, hummers are very territorial, as well as aggressive!  So, it’s kind of an “out of sight, out of mind” approach.  If you sit close enough to watch them, you will occasionally see them chasing each other around.  Then one of them will calmly sit on a close branch to begin his “watch” again.  They do NOT share at all well!!!

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Annemarie’s photo

 

This little guy is calmly waiting for the next “invader” to approach “HIS” feeder!  I took this picture when the snow was barreling down.

This same day, the staff saw the feeders all frozen over from the night before, and (bless them) they went out and removed the feeders and “unfroze them.  Unfortunately, they were not aware that the feeders are filled with a solution of 1 part sugar to 4 parts water, and instead filled them with plain water.  (A good technique is to remove the feeders in the evening, take them inside, and then re-hang them in the morning.)

The reason that it is not a good idea to use plain water, is that these are very tiny, little birds, only weighing a little more than a penny. Their tummies are pretty small, so when they don’t get any sustenance, it is hard for them to satisfy their caloric needs…which are ample.  When you watch them fly, you can just imagine how much energy they expend.

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One of Joel’s photos

Remember, ANY time you see a problem with these two feeders, you can give me, (or Carol O.) a call and one of us will be happy to deal with the issue.  The staff at the dining room also have my number.

Let’s talk a little about these fascinating birds who share our space.

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From the internet

First, know that the hummers who stay all winter long, here in Seattle are “Anna’s Hummingbirds“.  (It’s nice that they named them after my grand-daughter! Just kidding!) Do visit the link to hear them and see those grand colors in motion.

You CAN tell the difference between males and females if you are VERY observant.   Check the link to a site that gives you lots more information.

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Joel’s photo-outside our window

If you have your own little “balcony” and are curious about how to feed them properly, here’s a link that will tell you everything you need to know!

I don’t have a lot of photos, since they move a bit too fast for my little camera.  My husband is giving me a few as well, and there’s also the internet!

 

After learning a bit about when and how these guys bloom, I figured I’d better learn a few other things about them!  Here’s my Christmas Cactus right now.  I’m tickled with it, and hope to have this kind of a display EVERY year!img_8444First of all, I’d better learn what it’s real name is!  It is formally known as Schlumbergera.  Depending on WHICH of the Holiday Cactus(Thanksgiving, Christmas or Easter) you get, they will have different descriptive names.  But the  “Schlumbergera” will probably always be there.

As it my plant ages, I am assuming it will get larger and more prolific with blooms.

So, how do I accomplish that?  I DO know that they like to be root-bound.  Which means less worries about re-potting.  That’s good, right?

I also know they like to be kind of dry. That’s also great.  Talk about an easy plant to deal with…except for light and temperature, which are BIGGIES!

Here are a few suggestions, and a few links to places where you can read a bit more than I’ll give you.

  • As you know, the flowers appear at the very ends of the stem.  When the flowers are done and shriveled, you can just snip them off, either by pinching them carefully, or using a sharp pruning shears.  When ALL the blooms are gone…ignore the plant!  Little water, no fertilizer, “no nothing” for about a month. Then, during the winter start giving it an occasional “spritz”, gradually begin to treat it like a normal plant until springtime, when you’ll see new growth appear.
  • If you want your plant to be fuller, you can prune it back. Where you cut, you will get two new stems, so go back toward the pot, and watch what happens. Remember when you prune to use SHARP and CLEAN shears, and cut BETWEEN the segments. The best time to do this is in the spring, just as the new growth is beginning.
  • Guide to Holiday Cactus
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  • It is a myth that these cacti should be in direct sunshine.  DO NOT DO THAT. A light exposure to sunshine will be exactly what it needs! These are what’s called “Forest Cacti” so don’t know what to do with direct sun!
  • Never let them get waterlogged!  A drainage hole is an absolute necessity.
  • Once they begin blooming, try not to move them around too much.  This can sometimes cause the buds to drop.  Remember this if you buy a blooming cactus from the grocery store.  Chances are it’s been moved around A LOT!
  • If your home is extra dry, they will love a bit of misting.
  • From everything I’ve read, they are NOT toxic to pets.
  • The Bloom Cycle for A Christmas Cactus-A Simple chart!  
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